Thirteenth Station of the Cross
Jesus' body is taken down from the cross
There are a series of pictures representing certain aspects in the Passion of Christ, and each one corresponds to a particular incident.
This series is known as The Way of the Cross and this page introduces the Thirteenth Station.
His body is taken down from the cross
The Thirteenth Station is commemorated by the altar of Stabat Mater (Our Lady of Sorrows) in the Holy Sepulchre.
Executions are only complete when the victim is dead, and whatever method is chosen, different people have different tolerances. It was most unlikely that any victim could survive for so long from crucifixion, and one way to maximize the suffering was to keep them alive for as long as possible. Death brings relief, so it would have been customary to keep victims 'at the edge' for as long as possible.
However, the day was Friday; just before the Sabbath. It would have been uncomfortable for the Jews to see people in such agony on the Sabbath and so the soldiers had to make sure they were dead before Friday's sundown (John 19:31).
And we are still guilty of it: America executes prisoners for heinous crimes, but not on Sundays. Does God only watch what we are doing on the Sabbath? Darkness is a place for evildoers to hide; however, darkness does not hide us from God (John 3:19-21).
The soldier responsible for checking that Jesus was dead made absolutely sure: First he smashed the bones in his legs. This was to make it impossible for Jesus to push his torso up to breathe. Secondly, the soldier thrust a spear into his side. If Jesus was still alive, these two actions would have both suffocated him and bled him to death.
Beneath the cross waited Mary, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus. The two men took Jesus' body, wrapped it in linen and anointed it with spices, in accordance with contemporary burial customs (John 19:38-40) and carried it to the tomb.